Functional composition of Chaetodon butterflyfishes at a peripheral and extreme coral reef location, the Persian Gulf

The functional composition of reef fish assemblages is highly conserved across large biogeographic areas, but it is unknown whether assembly rules hold at biogeographical and environmental extremes for coral reefs. This study examined the functional composition of butterflyfishes in the Persian Gulf, Musandam Peninsula, and Gulf of Oman. Only five species of butterflyfishes were recorded during this study, and mostly just in the Gulf of Oman. Unlike most locations in the Indo-Pacific where butterflyfish assemblages are dominated by obligate corallivores, the only obligate corallivore recorded, Chaetodon melapterus, was rare or absent at all locations. The most common and widespread species was Chaetodon nigropunctatus, which is shown to be a facultative corallivore. The diversity of butterflyfishes in the Persian Gulf is likely to have been constrained by its' biogeographical history and isolation, but functional composition appears to be further affected by limited abundance of prey corals and harsh environmental conditions. © 2012.

Pratchett, M. S., Hoey, A. S., Feary, D. A., Bauman, A. G., Burt, J. A., & Riegl, B. M. (2013). Functional composition of Chaetodon butterflyfishes at a peripheral and extreme coral reef location, the Persian Gulf. Marine Pollution Bulletin, 72(2), 333–341. doi:10.1016/j.marpolbul.2012.10.014

This research was funded by New York University Abu Dhabi Institute. M. Pratchett, A. Baird and A. Bauman were supported by fellowships from the ARC Centre of Excellence for Coral Reef Studies, D. Feary was supported by a Chancellors Postdoctoral Fellowship within the University of Technology, Sydney, and A. Hoey held a fellowship from King Abdulla University of Science and Technology (KAUST). Initial surveys were conducted under the auspices of the Nakheel-UNU-INWEH joint project "Strategic Management of Marine Ecosystems in Nakheel Projects" as part of baseline data collection. Authors are grateful for constructive feedback provided by A. Cole and anonymous reviewers.

Elsevier BV

Marine Pollution Bulletin


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